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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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borne by citizens in proportion to their ability to pay taxes, not according to the number of their children.
Myrdal was not alone in worrying about the effects of a declining population on the future of democratic societies. In Britain, the distinguished sociologist T. H. Marshall and a group of well-known scholars, including A. M. Carr-Saunders, H. D, Henderson, R. R. Kuczynski, and Arnold Plant, delivered a series of radio broadcasts dealing with the dangers to Britain of a declining population. Marshall's lecture began with a discussion of a motion introduced into the House of Commons on February 10, 1937, beginning with the words, "This House is of the opinion that the tendency of the population to decline may well constitute a danger to the maintenance of the British Empire and to the economic well-being of the nation" (5; see also 6, 7). H. D. Henderson, the economist, expressed the view in his lecture that the decline in population would mean growing government intervention.
It was no accident, I am convinced, that the Victorian Age, when numbers were growing very rapidly, should have been the heyday of the philosophy of laissez-faire, of the idea that governments should confine themselves to the task of maintaining law and order and meddle as little as possible with economic matters.
[Today, in contrast] an increasing degree of state intervention and control will be required to deal with the difficult problems of economic adjustment which are consequential on the change in population trends. (8)
In the same series of lectures, Professor R0 R. Kuczynski, a well-known demographer, contrasted the decline in the number of white people in the world with the rising number of people belonging to other races. He suggested that the growth of colonialism and the spread of the British Empire could in part be explained by demographic factors. He estimated that in 1770 there were 150 million whites, while by 1938 the white population of the world had increased almost five times to 730 million; and that in 1770 there were only 8 million persons of English descent, while by 1938 there were ten times as many, 80 million (9).*
The same conviction, that power in the international arena required a large population, led the prewar governments of France, Germany, Italy, and Japan to pursue pronatalist policies (11).
Concern with Population Growth
As one reflects upon the current concern for the effects of the worldwide "population explosion," it is striking to see how many of the same effects
*A similar argument was expressed a decade later by an Australian demographer who noted that "we who live in the dominions of the British Commonwealth have good reason to be thankful for the fortitude of the Victorian women of Britain who bore their numerous progeny without obvious complaint and who helped thereby to lay the foun-